WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP STOP THE WARS
In Iraq and Afghanistan
Please take a few moments to read about different actions that you can take to help stop the killing, the torture, the destruction, and the occupation.
The more you know about what is really going on the better you will be able to counteract arguments favoring the war and propound arguments for ending it. Mainstream media outlets spout Pentagon press releases and US propaganda. Following are some alternative outlets and sites where you can find reporting and commentary based on true investigation (even more are on our Web site). Attending conferences and speaking engagements on the war and related issues is another good way to learn more.
Some good internet resources: See Links Page
When you find interesting articles and commentary, send them on to your friends, family, colleagues. Develop a list to which you regularly send information. Make sure the information is new, relevant, important, because you want people to continue reading your messages and forwarding them on to their own lists.
Write your governmental representatives
Despite their allegiance to powerful lobbying groups and wealthy funders, Congress members do acknowledge that they are also beholden to their constituents, and so they often take into account what their constituents want. Write your Representative and Senators often, especially when important war-related votes are coming up. You can find the email address of your Congress members by going to www.congress.org and just typing in your zip code. Keep your messages short and to the point, let your voting voice speak.
French cabinet members and elected officials can also be responsive to what their constituents have to say. Write urging them in no way to support the U.S. war effort and France's complicity . No to NATO, No to selling of arms, Yes to US War Resisters.
Contact the media
Surprising numbers of people read the Letters to the Editor sections of their local papers, and surprising numbers of letters are accepted for publication. Members of AAW have had quite a number published in such places as the International Herald Tribune, The Independent (England), The Guardian (England), The Nation.
Following are some simple tips for having the best chance of publication:
- Tie your letter into a recently published article, and mention the title and date of it (if it's a previous letter you're responding to, mention the author and date of publication).
- Give your name, address and telephone number (the papers never call).
- Keep the letter short and make a clear statement-better to focus on one or two points that have outraged you rather than trying to demolish an entire article.
- Try to make your final sentence a strong one.
Addresses of national, regional, and local newspapers can be accessed at www.congress.org under Media.
Participate in marches, rallies
Numbers count, even though the media often downsize them. The hundreds of thousands of people who took to the streets when the war in Iraq broke out gave powerful messages to the rest of the world that there was tremendous opposition to the war. AAW was often at the front of marches in Paris, and so we were frequently interviewed by radio, TV, newspaper, and magazine reporters from all over the world, thus getting our message out in a free and easy way.
It is essential that we not let Obama and Sarkozy think that opposition has waned.
AAW is a member of the NON à L'OTAN Collectif, a group representing over 40 France-based groups opposing the war, from Agir Contre la Guerre, Mvt de la Paix, Attac, Dissent, Les Verts, the Communists, Ligue de Droits de l'Homme, etc. that recently came together in Strasbourg to protest the expansion of NATO in Europe. Check out AAW's web site, or the sites of French groups that are part of the NON à l'OTAN Coordination, for upcoming marches and rallies, and join them.
Protest other wars and occupations
The war being waged by Israelis against Palestinians, with essential monetary and arms support from the U.S. government, has many similarities to that being waged in Iraq. U.S. and NATO troops are still occupying Afghanistan, a country wracked by battling warlords, rampant opium production, repression of women that rivals that under the Taliban, dozens of deaths weekly. Protest all illegal wars and threats of such. We need to stand firm and give the message that we will not accept any unilateral illegal war, that the battleground can't be shifted, that we will protest just as strongly.
Support U.S. troops in their desire not to kill
Fahrenheit 911 and other documentaries have shown the lies military recruiters tell young men and women who are thinking about joining the army. These lies play into the desperate need for jobs in an economy where unemployment numbers are increasing while employment opportunities are shrinking as jobs are sent overseas to cheap labor sources. Consequently, many young people enlist having been promised money and jobs and assurances that they won't have to kill. But they do have to kill. To find out how you can help soldiers be informed as to their rights and options, see the website of the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors (CCCO) or contact the Military Counseling Service in Germany at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to our LINKS page.
Protest plans for a draft
With military enrollment way down, foreign troops pulling out of Iraq, and insurgents gaining strength in Iraq, the U.S. war machine needs to find new soldiers to send to Iraq. and Afghanistan. Despite the government's statements that there will be no draft, evidence reveals that the government is indeed considering reinstating military conscription. Protest any vote that comes up related to this. Support draft resisters in any way you can. Keeping Americans from going to fight in Iraq saves their lives and the lives of Iraqis.
Reduce oil consumption
Middle East wars are principally about oil. The less oil consumed, the less the demand, the less the need to wage wars for oil. So take public transportation, ride a bike, walk, lobby for better public transport and bike paths.